His Excellency President Enrique Peña Nieto,
President of Mexico,
Mexico City, Mexico
21 January 2014
We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at an attack by armed men on the home of journalist Anabel Hernández.
According to reports, a group of heavily armed men broke into the home of Ms Hernández, who has written extensively on drug trafficking, on 21 December 2013. About a dozen individuals armed with rifles and handguns closed the street where Ms Hernández lives and de-activated security cameras, including those in Ms Hernández’s house. Ms Hernández was not at home when the incident occurred. Despite the presence of a police station less than a mile away, no authorities showed up as the commando managed to close the access to the Hernández’ street for approximately half an hour.
The attackers first identified themselves as agents of the Federal Police then as members of the “Zetas” drug cartel, and briefly detained and punched one of the bodyguards assigned by Mexico City authorities to protect Ms Hernández. Ms Hernández has been under Mexico City protection since the publication of her book “Los Señores del Narco”, which exposed drug trafficking and accused officials, businessmen and the police of involvement in organized crime. Ms Hernández has reportedly received information on several occasions that Genaro García Luna, the former police chief under the previous administration, has been the intention of having her killed.
Ms Hernández filed a complaint with the Federal Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression, which has opened a preliminary investigation into whether the incident is related to other recent threats that she has received.
We are deeply concerned for the safety of Ms Hernández, the winner of our organisations’ Golden Pen of Freedom 2012, and at the climate of impunity that exists for violence against journalists in your country.
We respectfully call on you to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation is carried out into the attack and that those responsible for planning and executing it are quickly brought to justice.
We urge you to do everything in your power to ensure the safety of Ms Hernández and other threatened journalists, and to bring an end to Mexico’s prevailing climate of impunity.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
World Editors Forum
WAN-IFRA Latin American Committee
Frank La Rue, United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Catalina Botero, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR)
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Secretary of the Interior
Jesús Murillo Karam, Attorney General of Mexico
WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.
WAN-IFRA defends and promotes press freedom, and helps independent news publishing companies to succeed in their transformation process, increase their business, and perform their crucial role in open societies.
A worldwide knowledge organisation representing 18,000 publications and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, WAN-IFRA provides the industry with strategic insights, brings innovators together, and helps improve the way news content and advertising are created, distributed and consumed.